The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety on construction sites – Part 10

September 14, 2020 1:00 pm

In LWFs Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 9, LWF discussed emergency procedures, temporary accommodation and other elements which designers should consider in terms of fire safety on construction sites. In part 10, we continue with compartmentation in unfinished building projects, before looking at ventilation and firefighting.

An unfinished building is at its most vulnerable in terms of fire safety. For this reason, it is advantageous to complete areas of compartmentation as soon as it becomes possible, in order to protect the building as a whole.

The case for progressive installation of compartmentation becomes even more important when considering those buildings constructed with lightweight timber framing, especially those which employ newer timber technologies designed to use less timber while achieving the required structural rating.

Fire testing performed on timber-frame buildings has clearly illustrated the need to adhere to approved methods of fixing elements, too.


Smoke control and ventilation is incorporated into a building as part of the means of escape provision and to provide conditions where the Fire Service can identify the source of the fire and enter the building to fight the fire. While it may seem acceptable to leave such provision until later in the building process, it is, in fact, advantageous to incorporate smoke ventilation at an early stage of construction to avoid the build-up of smoke and hot gases from a fire.


New timber technologies, where improperly supported by effective compartmentation during construction, can be the cause of added risk for the Fire Service. Fire growth and spread can be much faster than would normally be expected.

Facilities provided for firefighters that will be in the finished building, such as risers, hydrants and firefighting shafts should all be incorporated into the building and operable as soon as practically possible. While the provision and maintenance of such facilities in a partially-finished building is largely dependent upon management, it is advisable.

In part 11, LWF will continue looking at provisions for firefighting in buildings under construction. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

Share this post